Decision Support Tools
Computer-based modeling is an integrative exercise, and IEc offers clients an ideal mix of skills. We work with clients to create tools and processes that identify key information and explore the impact of uncertainties. Our data management, GIS, scientific, and economic expertise helps clients model changes in resources, environmental conditions, and actions over time. We also implement optimization models to determine the most cost-effective approaches for addressing environmental and resource management problems. Our team also supports improved efficiencies by creating workflow management tools that streamline the flow of information between sources and stakeholders and promotes quality data and products.
IEc has designed integrated models to support complex decision-making on numerous topics, including:
- Land use management decisions in the context of economic growth and non-point source pollution constraints;
- Maximization of marine mammal protection while limiting costs incurred by commercial fisheries;
- Optimizing greenhouse gas emissions control based on modeled changes in sea level rise and storm surge; and
- Quantifying the impacts of oil and gas exploration and development on the outer continental shelf.
IEc selects software best aligned with the modeling objectives. For example, we have developed complex systems simulations in Vensim, customized scenario modeling in MS Access, and spatial analysis tools in ArcView.
IEc frequently builds and maintains client information portals. Portals are websites that integrate information from diverse sources, establishing an organized and standardized format. IEc uses portals to easily develop and post web content, create online forms, and provide collaboration tools, such as document libraries, calendars, message boards, email and text notifications, and wikis. Portals allow IEc to manage security at a fine scale, tailoring the web site to an individual’s particular role on a project. For example, IEc currently provides customized portal development for several Federal government clients using the Liferay platform, which is open-source. As part of these systems, IEc has developed numerous workflow assistance tools to significantly reduce operational burdens and provide clients with the ability to observe and manage large tasks.
IEc often assists clients in organizing large bodies of information central to a project or research agenda. We use dedicated data management tools such as EndNote to assemble literature summaries, combining our critical insights on topics with our information management proficiency. The databases we develop often form the foundation for subsequent research and policymaking. IEc also is experienced in developing and managing document databases in the litigation context. We organize documents in electronic databases such as Concordance and the web-based interface, Relativity, helping attorneys efficiently retrieve and screen case-relevant materials.